1. Send in application. Experience mild excitement. Oh, the big show! The possibilities!
2. Wait for booth assignment. Begin to fret.
3. Start to-do list. Add to the to-do list. Add more to the to-do list. Fret.
4. Get booth assignment. Fret.
5. Start checking things off the to-do list. Then add yet more things on the to-do list. Notice that the to-do list keeps getting longer, not shorter. Fret.
6. Check out the show floor plan to see where all your buddies will be.
7. Work more on the to-do list. Fret.
8. Decide you absolutely must have more gadgets, booth displays, printed matter, and whatnots. Deplete bank account. Fret.
9. Check off majority of items on the to-do list as the deadline looms. Determine that the rest of the items are probably do-able. Realize that those that aren't, aren't that big of a deal and in the grand scheme of things won't be noticed by anyone but you. Fret a bit less.
10. Start to experience true excitement. Oh, the big show! The possibilities! Seeing friends that you haven't seen in a while, and meeting new friends. Looking forward to greeting customers that come back to see you and place an order show after show, and meeting new folks that are destined to become great new customers. Picking up something new, whether it's a booth setup idea or a knitting technique or a design concept or an amazing new yarn or whatever -- knowing that you'll always come away inspired. Making new contacts, whether it's an indie dyer/designer or a seasoned vendor or a magazine editor or an artist's rep; there's always someone worth meeting. Anticipating walking the show floor before the morning bell rings, and seeing all the wonderful new yarns, and the colors, and the patterns, and the companies, and the stuff, and...Oh! Oh!
11. Wonder how the show can fly by so quickly. Pack up, rush home, and crash in the nearest chair. Accept the glass of wine your husband hands you, as much for his self preservation as because he knows you really need it.
12. Try to quiet your mind, because even as exhausted as you are, you're exhilarated and you keep replaying the show in your head. You rattle on and on, your spouse nodding and murmuring sympathetic noises at what he hopes are the appropriate moments because really, he has no idea what the hell you're going on and on about.
13. Finally start to fade, and fall into bed hoping to get some sleep. You zonk out for a little while, but then wake up in the middle of the night fully alert, thinking about all the things you now need to do. At least it's quiet in the dark of the night, with no distractions as you push that replay button in your head, again and again. Try not to fret.
14. Get up the next morning and review your orders. Come up with a game plan and shipping schedule. Fret.
15. Work like hell to fulfill all your orders quickly and get them out the door. Breathe a huge sigh of relief when they're done. Look at what you've accomplished and be pleased with yourself -- you did it! You analyze everything you've done, though, to see what you can do differently/better/more for the next show.
16. Look at the calendar and see that it's already time to start prepping for the next show. Fret.